Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are a family of compounds that can oxidatively damage cellular macromolecules and may influence lifespan. Sirtuins are a conserved family of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)-dependent protein deacetylases that regulate lifespan in many model organisms including yeast and mice. Recent work suggests that sirtuins can modulate ROS levels notably during a dietary regimen known as calorie restriction which enhances lifespan for several organisms. Although both sirtuins and ROS have been implicated in the aging process, their precise roles remain unknown. In this review, we summarize current thinking about the oxidative stress theory of aging, discuss some of the compelling data linking the sirtuins to ROS and aging, and propose a conceptual model placing the sirtuins into an ROS-driven mitochondria-mediated hormetic response.
Keywords: sirtuins, SIRT1, SIRT3, oxidative stress, mitohormesis, acetylation